Adobe® Acrobat® for CAD UsersContents:
|Outside the world
of AutoCAD and CAD in general, a lot of people are and have been using Adobe Acrobat to
exchange documents. It is interesting that such a popular document exchange product
exists yet few CAD users are even aware of its capabilities.
In this quarter's publication of ARCHIdigm.com, I have decided to go over some of the features that I have found really useful and hopefully introduce yet another new/old tool for CAD users abound.
Illustrated to the right, I show what a sample project plotted out of AutoCAD 2000 might look like for a non-AutoCAD user. All anyone needs to read an Adobe Acrobat file is their free, downloadable, Adobe Acrobat reader. Many already have it as part of some other program requirements, default system configuration or for other document exchanges.
Simply put, my favorite feature of this product is that I can assemble an entire set of drawings into one organized file - like an electronic blue-lined set with date stamp, binding and all. Thumbnails can be used to scroll through a large set while viewing individual sheets one-at-a-time in the view window or you can choose to change the layout option to view multiple pages at one time (as illustrated); allowing for document comparison.
there are numerous features such as marked hyperlinks, window-like sticky
notes, text highlighter (not .shx fonts though), bookmarks,
thumbnails and annotation lists.
Illustration to the right, shows Adobe Acrobat tools that can be used once the CAD files have been printed into .pdf format.
|2How does it work|
|When you purchase
and install Adobe Acrobat, depending on the options you choose you will get one or more
Acrobat System Printers, as illustrated to the right. Since most products now use
System Printers, the process has just been explained; it's that easy.
Illustrated to the right is Windows 98 Printer Window with the Acrobat PDFWriter installed as a System Printer.
|If you are using an
"i" series of AutoCAD or its other flavors, like ADT 2.0i, there is a new Option
to hide system printers that may prevent you from seeing the newly installed PDFWriter.
See OPTIONS to Plotting tab to Hide
System Printer checkbox
Otherwise, you should see the Adobe PDFWriter icon on the Plotter Name drop-down list of the Plot dialogue box in AutoCAD 2000.
In the illustration to the right, I show a custom AutoCAD .pc3 version of the Acrobat PDFWriter that I use for printing sheets in native 36x24 paper size; as illustrated below right.
From AutoCAD, using the PDFWriter is like printing to any other device you may be accustomed to using, like a laser or inkjet; the only difference is that the file will automatically be generated in pdf format. Notice that Plot to file is not used here. You can use the Plot stamp, .ctb, .stb, or anything else and it carries through very cleanly.
|If you use Properties
from the AutoCAD plot dialogue box, illustrated above, to modify your Acrobat PDFWriter
printer, you should find the usual Device and Document Settings options
with some unique items that relate specifically to PDF writing.
Illustrated to the right, under Custom Properties, I show the Page Setup tab of the Acrobat PDFWriter Properties dialogue box and how you can create a custom paper size to match that of a common architectural or engineering sheet size ( 36x24 ).
Notice too that there are options for Scaling, Resolution ( 600dpi = highest), Compression Options and Font Embedding.
Font Embedding is a really cool option when you use special architectural fonts in AutoCAD but are not sure if anyone else has them. With a Whip file from AutoCAD, for example, there is no opinion for embedding and thus fonts can get as screwed up as when you send the regular .dwg file type. And this is one of the reasons many AutoCAD users still use that boring Simplex or Romans.shx font.
|You can set up a script
file or use the Batch Plotter to get a whole set out in .pdf format but I
have yet to figure out an automated routine for assembling a book; in other words, you
have to manually drag-n-drop all of the files into a single .pdf file to create a set.
This is relatively easy, but if someone has a routine or solution for automating this process, please let us know so we can share it with the rest of the CAD slaves out here.
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